In 1966 I joined the United States Army and after completing my training, I traveled to Vietnam where I was a Radio Operator in the 25th Infantry Division as a Sargent, E-5. Shortly after ending my Army career and returning home to Missouri, I started working in the automotive industry which then led me to Temecula in 1992 where my family and I opened Paradise Chevrolet Cadillac.
I’ve been involved in many organizations in various capacities over the years such as serving as a Board of Director for the Boys & Girls Club of Southwest County and chairing the Capital Campaign and “Our Kids Rock” Dinner/Auction for more than 15 years. I was fortunate to learn a great deal about how other businesses and organizations are run by being hands-on and was then able to bring those values and tips back to Paradise to implement them. I now find myself in a different role, being able to lend insight and expertise to the wonderful organizations in the valley. It is amazing what can happen if you get enough people together who are committed to fixing a problem; you can literally accomplish anything!
Life & Business Philosophy:
In the 90’s when I was opening the dealership, my business philosophy was to be successful. Right now, my business philosophy is to make a difference in other people’s lives. As I near retirement, my philosophy will once again change as I continue to make a difference in others’ lives, but in new ways. I plan to travel to different destinations, utilize my plane more often and spend time out on the golf course. Life after retirement certainly includes enjoying my beautiful family; my wife Cindy, my oldest daughter Tina, and my grandkids Sami (who is a Sophomore at Southern Illinois University) and CJ (who is a Banking Officer) along with my daughter Katelyn and my newest grandchild Sawyer. Regardless of my philosophy, I will always find joy from any opportunity I have to give back. I live by a great rule and that is to do what’s right all the time, don’t ask what it will cost, just make it happen and follow your gut.
I am currently preparing my daughter Katelyn to become the successor of the business. I want to take every step I can to set her up for success, so she is working in every department of the dealership to gain experience and be able to grow into this role. Although it would be easy to sell the business, tailoring Katelyn for this position ensures Paradise continues the community spirit and involvement in the valley that myself and amazing staff are so passionate about.
Bob Gregory was my first business partner. When I first met Bob, he was very sarcastic with me and would say ‘problems’ are ‘monkeys’ so “don’t bring your monkeys into my office.” Our partnership later turned into very intelligent conversations and mentorship. Dan Atwood was a great friend and although he was a competitor it never stopped us from sharing advice and bouncing ideas off each other. Mike Hurst was also a competitor but that didn’t matter, we found common ground and learned from each other. I discovered it was very important to surround myself with good businesspeople who I could trust and respect, so I did just that. Of course, I also want to give credit to my wife, Cindy Gilmore, who was a General Manager, very knowledgeable and incredibly supportive then and now.
I love to read famous quotes. My favorite is “The Bridge Builder” by Will Allen Dromgoole
An old man going a lone highway,
Came, at the evening cold and gray,
To a chasm vast and deep and wide.
Through which was flowing a sullen tide
The old man crossed in the twilight dim,
The sullen stream had no fear for him;
But he turned when safe on the other side
And built a bridge to span the tide.
“Old man,” said a fellow pilgrim near,
“You are wasting your strength with building here;
Your journey will end with the ending day,
You never again will pass this way;
You’ve crossed the chasm, deep and wide,
Why build this bridge at evening tide?”
The builder lifted his old gray head;
“Good friend, in the path I have come,” he said,
“There followed after me to-day
A youth whose feet must pass this way.
This chasm that has been as naught to me
To that fair-haired youth may a pitfall be;
He, too, must cross in the twilight dim;
Good friend, I am building this bridge for him!”
I was born in St. Louis, Missouri and lived there from 1947 to 1977.